Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Payette River - North Fork - Idaho

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Afternoon 18-22 Black Beauty, Griffith's Gnat
Stoneflies Mid-day 6-12 Black Stimulator
February Midges Afternoon 18-22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
Stoneflies Morning to afternoon 6-12 Black Stonefly Nymph
March Skwala Stoneflies Afternoon 10-14 Skwala Adult, Pat's Rubber Legs
Blue Wing Olives Morning, Evening 16-20 Sparkle Dun, Pheasant Tail
April Blue Wing Olives Morning, Evening 16-20 WD-40, RS2
March Browns Noon to afternoon 12-14 Parachute Adams, Hare's Ear
May Salmonflies Mid-day 4-6 Chubby Chernobyl, Pat's Rubber Legs
Caddisflies Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
June Golden Stoneflies Mid-day 6-10 Stimulator, Pat's Rubber Legs
Green Drakes Noon 8-10 Green Drake Cripple, Pheasant Tail
July PMDs Morning 14-18 Sparkle Dun, Pheasant Tail
Yellow Sallies Afternoon 14-16 Yellow Sally Stimulator, Copper John
August Terrestrials Afternoon 10-14 Hopper Patterns, Ant Patterns
Tricos Morning 18-24 Trico Spinner, RS2
September Terrestrials Afternoon 10-14 Chubby Chernobyl, Foam Beetle
Blue Wing Olives Morning, Evening 18-22 Mercer's BWO, Pheasant Tail
October Blue Wing Olives Afternoon 18-22 BWO Emerger, WD-40
Midddges Mid-day 18-22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
November Midges Afternoon 18-22 Black Beauty, Zebra Midge
Blue Wing Olives Mid-day 18-22 BWO Emerger, WD-40
December Midges Afternoon 18-22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
Winter Stoneflies Morning to afternoon 16-20 Stonefly Nymph, Black Stimulator

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

If you’re a fan of fly fishing, the North Fork of the Payette River is a must-visit. There are several exceptional spots to snag your catch:

  • Main Street Bridge in Downtown McCall: Here, the river is primarily catch-and-release. Anglers praise its plentiful trout.
  • Cascade Reservoir Outlet: This spot is great during spring and fall. Rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout can be found.
  • Smiths Ferry: This deeper portion of the river boasts mountain whitefish alongside trout.
  • Upper North Fork: Located in the Payette National Forest, this stretch is home to both cutthroat and bull trout.
  • Cabarton Bridge to Smiths Ferry: This 13-mile stretch is ideal for float fishing. There’s a chance for rainbow and brown trout here.

Remember, each spot is subject to seasonal and fishing regulations. Always obtain the necessary permits and adhere to local laws and guidance.

Best Access Points

The North Fork of the Payette River offers prime spots for fly fishing. Consider these top access points:

  • Banks: Join where the South and North Fork of the River meet. Easy access with plenty of parking.
  • Confluence Park: Located in the heart of downtown McCall. Public dock and boat ramp available.
  • Smiths Ferry: An excellent spot teeming with smallmouth bass. Accessible from Highway 55.
  • Cascade Reservoir: Heavily stocked and home to many large fish. Boat ramps present.
  • Goose Lake: Located off of Brundage Mountain Road. Perfect for stand-up paddleboarding and fly fishing.

You can enjoy an unmatchable fishing experience in the serene, gin-clear waters of these locations. Don’t forget your fishing license and ensure that you follow all local regulations.

Local Fish

  • Salmonfly: An important hatch for many western rivers, the Salmonfly is a popular target for fly fishermen.
  • Golden Stonefly: This type of stonefly is known for creating fast-paced fishing experiences when it begins to hatch.
  • Rainbow Trout: The North Fork of the Payette River offers excellent opportunity to catch Rainbow Trout.
  • Mountain Whitefish: Though often overlooked, the Mountain Whitefish is a common species in this river and offers great year-round fly fishing.
  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout: A native trout to Idaho, this species can be found in abundance in the North Fork of the Payette River.
  • Bull Trout: Bull Trout are a prized yet challenging catch and are often targeted by more experienced anglers.
  • Chinook Salmon: Although not as commonly seen as in other parts of Idaho, Chinook Salmon can sometimes be caught in this river.
  • Brook Trout: This species is also a favorite target for fly fishermen due to its size and aggressive nature.

About The River

The North Fork Payette River is a charming gem of Idaho’s wilderness. This invaluable water body has a rich and somewhat elusive history. Over time, it has carved its way through central Idaho, shaping the landscape.

The river boasts a significant background in the timber industry during the first half of the 20th century. The abundant pine, fir, and cedar trees nearby were logged and transported via the river’s network – a practical way to manage the robust timber industry.

  • It’s also renowned for its white-water rapids, making it a popular destination for adrenaline-fueled adventurers.
  • It has a stunning array of wildlife, from otters and beavers to ospreys and eagles, adding to its enduring appeal.
  • Fishing enthusiasts also frequent the river due to its choosey trout populations.

Today, the North Fork Payette River remains a symbol of Idaho’s raw natural beauty and historical significance.


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